China Daily trumpets eco attack on Hong Kong Airlines over dolphins

2012 02 29

HONG KONG Airlines has been blasted by two environmental groups in the state-owned China Daily for shipping live dolphins to from Osaka to Hanoi.

The San Francisco-based Earth Island Institute and the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society were quoted in a substantial China Daily article, which told of five dolphins flown in tanks with fins protruding as if it were blameworthy.

It accused Hong Kong Airlines of "torturing the dolphins" by placing them in "flying coffins" for up to seven hours in transit from Osaka to Hanoi.

Hong Kong Airlines said it had complied with government rules and International Air Transport Association regulations on live animal transport. It is understood the animals were bound for Vietnamese theme parks and zoos.

Quoted in the China Daily, Earth Island director David Berman: "This is kidnapping. Hong Kong Airlines should be boycotted for this for this inhumane money-grabbing contract to traffic in dolphins."

Of Earth Island's executive director David Brower, former US Environmental Protection Agency administrator Russ Train said: "Thank God for Dave Brower. He makes it easy for the rest of us to appear reasonable." (This quotation appeared on Earth Island's website.)

Said Samuel Hung, chairman of the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society: "If this plane took off from Osaka Airport, its almost definite where they have a dolphin drive and hunt. Because of the film the Cove, a lot of people know about the Taiji dolphin hunt in Japan."

Hong Kong Airlines said in its internal e-mail that after the "smooth handling of such special cargo which is time sensitive and vulnerable," it hoped to do more business of this nature.

"Based on the experience we have obtained this time, Hong Kong Airlines cargo will develop the business onward." It described the shipment was a successful flight and earned HK$850,000 (US$110,000).

"Hong Kong Airlines is fully committed to the protection of animal welfare," it said in a statement, in response to the charges, adding "no dolphin suffered or was injured during this shipment."

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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